Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Fighting Finn Typewriter Mechanic: A Champion of the Ring and the Typebasket

Was a contender: The fighting Finnish typewriter mechanic
Mali honoured the Boxing Typewriter Technician with a stamp
Now here's one for the next Typewriter Trivia Quiz:
Who was the only typewriter mechanic to win an Olympic Games boxing gold medal?
Clue 1: He was Scandinavian and won the bantamweight Olympic title in his home country.
Clue 2: He fought on the same Olympic finals card as two future world heavyweight champions. One of those two won the Olympic middleweight gold medal, the other was denied a silver medal in the heavyweight division because he was disqualified for cowardice.
On the medal podium in Helsinki: From left, John McNally of Ireland, Pentti Hämäläinen and Gennadi Garbuzov of the (Soviet Union.
Clue 3: It was August 2, 1952, and the venue was the Olympic host city of Helsinki.
So enough with the clues ...
Floyd Patterson as a 17-year-old middleweight in Helsinki in 1952
The 1952 Olympic middleweight champion was Floyd Patterson, who would knock out former light heavyweight world champion Archie Moore in Chicago on November 30, 1956, to became the then youngest world heavyweight champion in history, at 21 years, 10 months, three weeks and five days. Patterson was also the first Olympic gold medallist to win a professional heavyweight title. At the Polo Grounds in New York on June 20, 1960, Patterson became the first man ever to regain the world heavyweight title. The titleholder he knocked out that night was Ingemar Johansson, the Swede whose cowardice had deprived him of a silver medal in the Helsinki Olympics heavyweight final (the winner was American Ed Sanders).
Ingemar Johansson gets out of the way of Ed Sanders in the 1952 Olympic Games heavyweight title fight.
OK, so the answer to the trivia question is: Pentti Olavi Hämäläinen of Finland.
Looking for the print point: Pentti Hämäläinen defeats Henryk Niedzwiedzki in the second round of bouts at the Helsinki Olympics.
Hitting the space bar: Pentti Hämäläinen pounds Tom Nicholls of Britain up against the ropes in the 1952 Olympic Games bantamweight first round bout. Nicholls went on to win the featherweight silver medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, where he beat bronze medallist Hämäläinen in the semi-finals. Nicholls also beat Hämäläinen in the semi-finals of the 1955 European championships in Berlin.
Carriage release: Pentti Hämäläinen, about to board a bus in Helsinki in May 1951 as Finland's sole representative in the European championships in Milan, gets a "good luck" kick in the pants from Finnish boxing association executive director Arvo Salokangas. Hämäläinen won a flyweight bronze medal in Milan and another in the featherweight division in the 1955 European championships in Berlin.
One bout Pentti Hämäläinen did not win: Fighting for Finland in the match against Poland in Stalinograd in 1954 he was outpointed by Rospierski.
Pentti Hämäläinen was born on December 19, 1929, in Kotka on the coast of the Gulf of Finland. Officially he is listed as a "konttorikonemekaanikko" (office machine mechanic) but in fact he was a typewriter technician.
The 5ft 4 1/2in tall Hämäläinen had a natural fighting weight of about 120 pounds. He became only the second Finnish boxer to win an Olympic Games gold medal, after welterweight Sten Suvion in Berlin in 1936. Hämäläinen beat Ireland's John McNally in the 1952 Helsinki final. Four years later Hämäläinen won a bronze medal in the featherweight division at the Olympic Games in Melbourne. Those Games would have also given him the chance to get a close look at the Olivetti Lettera 22 and Studio 44, the first-ever official Olympic Games typewriters, both of which had just been launched in Australia at that time.
 The US and Europe (foreground) teams line up in Chicago in 1951. The US team, from front to back, is: Joe Castaneda, Nate Brooks, Ken Davis, Bobby Bickle, Willard Henry, Richard Guerrero, Bobby Jackson, Ernest Fann. The Europe team is Pentti Hämäläinen, Jacques Dumesnil, Pauli Dufva, Leif Hansen, Pavel Sovljanski, Stig Sjölin, Marcel Limage, Ingemar Johansson.
Hämäläinen represented Europe three times in Golden Gloves matches against the United States: in Chicago in 1950 he beat Pat McCarthy, and he beat Joe Castaneda in Chicago and Cincinnati's Ray Axt in Washington DC in 1951.
Hämäläinen's first pro fight, against Frenchman Jacques Ilari in 1957.
Hämäläinen then turned professional in 1957, winning five fights, but retired in 1959 after losing to Barcelona-based Moroccan Mimoun Ben Ali. Hämäläinen won six Finnish titles, two in flyweight (1950-51), two in bantamweight (1952-53) and two in featherweight (1954, 1956). Four of his brothers (Toivo, Arvo, Erkki and Aarne) were also national level boxers. I don't know how many of them fixed typewriters as well, though.
Pentti Hämäläinen died in his home town of Kotka on December 11, 1984, a week short of his 55th birthday.  

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Maritsa 22 Portable Typewriter Manual

Sold in Australia by Joe Vaver as a Pacific 22
Преносими Пишещи
машини от България
Tweaking a Maritsa 30
On a website about "Memories of the People's Republic" ("What [not] know about BG socialism"), this caption reads: "Typewriter Maritza - most often model 12 was the main weapon of journalists, officials and cultural figures. Various modifications of the machine is produced in Plovdiv. At that time could only dream of the Italian Olivetti or Erica, produced in the GDR."
I think it's a Maritsa 11, but with a wonky carriage lever!
Typewriters in Bulgaria
before the People's Republic

Typewriter Update

Peter Jones, left, interviews Beatles Ringo Starr and George Harrison
Two types of capitals,
no lower-case letters
Just last week, on a visit to Canberra to pick up a carload of typewriters, Sydney collector Richard Amery mentioned he had a portable with two sizes of capital letters and no lower-case letters. By sheer coincidence, tonight a West Australian friend, Ross McGillivray, alerted me to obituaries in two British newspapers for the popular music journalist Peter Jones, who had exactly the same sort of typewriter.
The Guardian wrote that Jones "composed articles and pithy record reviews on a typewriter that had two sizes of capital letters but no lower-case keys". The Telegraph, however, said, "Blessed with a photographic memory, he would never take notes, writing up interviews from memory on a battered typewriter permanently locked on capital letters."
Peter Langley Jones, born on January 6, 1930, died last month aged 85. He was chief writer and from 1964 editor of the Record Mirror, and wrote the earliest book-length biographies of both The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The Record Mirror was most often the first British publication to spot new trends, including the Motown sound and rhythm & blues.
Have you tried this yet? It's a lot of fun.
Ted Munk drew my attention to this Olympia SM7 being offered for sale on eBay for a staggering $C10,000 ($US7687). It's listed by a seller in Oakville, Ontario, called "poetspulpit". The listing states, "This typewriter has never been owned, nor has it ever been used by author Paul Auster. However, he still types his novels on a typewriter (SM9) similar to this one. It was the inspiration behind his wonderful book The Story of my Typewriter. Auster signed this [typewriter] during his visit to Toronto in 2013 as part of the IFOA [International Festival of Authors]."
Typewriters in the news:
The strange case of the typewriter tattooed thief and the kidnapping of Piggy the echidna:
Piggy the echidna was tonight returned to her Gold Coast, Queensland, home two days after she was abducted. She was found back in her enclosure at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. A 24-year-old man was "assisting police" with their enquiries.
Two thieves, one with a typewriter tattoo on his arm, had found themselves in a prickly situation after kidnapping the echidna. They were caught on camera breaking into an enclosure on Saturday night. They tried to steal two echidnas before fleeing with the more friendly Piggy. Police described the distinctive tattoo on one of the thieves as "diamond-shaped", but it is definitely of a typewriter.
CCTV footage of one of the thieves, above. The two tattoos below show how a typewriter tattoo might look "diamond-shaped"
The sanctuary said it was difficult to imagine a motive for the theft given the echidna was one of the worst animals to steal. "They are difficult to hold, difficult to feed and they're stinky. There's no market for echidnas. You can't sell them and they certainly don't make a good pet."
Echidnas, sometimes known as spiny anteaters, belong to the family Tachyglossidae in the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals. The four extant species, together with the platypus, are the only surviving members of that order and are the only extant mammals that lay eggs. Their diet consists of ants and termites, but they are not closely related to the true anteaters of the Americas. They live in Australia and New Guinea. Echidnas evidently evolved between 20 and 50 million years ago, descending from a platypus-like monotreme. Echidnas are named after Echidna, a creature from Greek mythology who was half-woman, half-snake, as the animal was perceived to have qualities of both mammals and reptiles.
 To see what a weird creature this is, watch this: